A post by Ebenezer Agbey Quist
I was about 5 years old. My dad fetched water for me to bath. Only the two of us were home at that moment. I don’t remember why, but he asked me to bath outside. Perhaps, he was busy but wanted to still watch me take my bath. I was infuriated. I wanted to use the bathhouse. He insisted I do as he asked.
I marched angrily to where the water was and poured it all away. He was mad! He went to pluck fresh leaves from a palm tree in our backyard and whipped me to my satisfaction.
I cried my heart out but beyond that, I was shocked to the bone. I never thought my dad could get so wrathful. The only side of him I knew was the always jovial, always playful one. The lashes taught me to take him seriously going forward. Today, they have taught me even more than that…
We are always told that respect is earned and not demanded. You cannot force people to respect you, but depending on how you carry yourself, you shall be respected.
I believed this religiously until the memory of my father’s lashes provoked me to rethink that. My reverence for his words increased when he lashed me.
It means my respect for him grew when he placed a forceful demand for it. So actually, respect can be demanded.
If you wish to be revered in a way, you are at liberty to demand it from people. They will honour it when they see how important it is to you. The only condition is, you have to respect yourself in that area first.
Lisa Nicholes put it aptly: “the way you treat yourself is the example others follow on how to treat you.” It suggests that people will be forced to accord you great respect if you respect yourself.
It’s like having touchy friends but wanting to keep a clean wall. Your friends will not abstain from staining your wall with dirty hands if you dirty the walls yourself. They won’t respect you more than you respect yourself.
However, if you are disciplined in keeping your hands to yourself, they would start to respect your decision. And to the ones who still don’t respect you, you have a mandate to forcefully restrict them and they will obey.
From my father’s example, if you always refrain from forcing respect on people, they may never understand how important a particular thing is to you. So actually, you must demand respect, but it only works when you respect yourself in what you demand.
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